Claudio Strinati

Tony Zanardi is from Veneto and his love for Venice (even though he was born in Padua) is expressed by his numerous works over time. That love is not provincial; rather, it is enhance by his truly international experience. Zanardi, in fact, is not so mech a "place" as a painter, but a painter of perceptions. Those perceptions can be traced by the maestro even in places far away from each other but unified by a purely stylistic analogy that the artist profusely pours into his art.

Noedays Zanardi lives in Russia, in a secluded location, that perfectly embodies his ideal of life and art together. But it is nou Russia itself or the Dominican Republic (where hi spent an importat period of his life) that determine his artistic pursuits. This also applies to "his" Venice. Not that tha places chisen bythe artist to spend very long periods of its life have not been, or are not, beloved and crucial for his creative process, but creation for Zanardi never occurs as a "tracing" of a place. For the artist creation arises from a place of fantasy that exists within the inspired soul of the painter, far from any immediate or direct reference to a concrete reality. Maestro Zanardi sees painting as a process of discovering analogies thet are later transferred onto the canvas with an inexhaustible creative energy. This process enables the artist to bring visions and things together that otherwise would not have a unifying point.

Today the maestro presents a sequence of works revolving around a few key themes and topics. A magnificent source from which to draw ideas and images comes from the Ballets Russes. From this already figurative reality the artist draws characters and key moments: the end of the show when the artists come out to thank the audience, the show itself with its complex shapes of classical dance performances, and the reckless performances of the ballet virtuosos (Zanardi highly appreciates the role of ballet "star"or diva of the show as he has long transferred "stars"through his art by studying great actors of American (cinema). It is a world of glittering and elegant movements onto which the master drops his unique composition and sense of color. For Zanardi color is strong and compact: it creates forms and shapes and breaks them down at the same time.

A descendant of the great Venetian tradition, Zanardi thinks of color as if composed of many mosaic "tiles". His approach, updated for the 21 century, has a glowing feel of those who, like him, witnessed the apotheosisof American Pop. These color blocks construct and deconstruct shapes, giving the viewer the impression of a powerful focus of images, paradoxically distant from the immediacy of their presence and projected into a remote fairytale world, almost unrecognizable unless analyzed with the utmost care. Suddenly the images of the dances come to life and aretransfigured into genuine joy for the eyes, the same we find in the artist's representation of Venice: its sunsets, domes, bridges, and squares invaded by hight water, all modeled with the same chromatic substance that allows us to compare the vision of a Venetian villa on the river to that of a dancer who kneels before the audience bathed in sparkling light. They are all visually shocking moments defined by the soft power of color and intimate feelings coalescing into the vortex of a steady stream of effective and meaningful signs. 

Zanardi, speaking of himself, mentions the evocative image of the dream, mobile and restless, that the artist sets into the immobility of the painting while keeping the elements of vagueness and imprecision inherent with the essence of the vision of the mind.

Here you can get a clear idea of what painting means  to an artist like Zanardi, an ecstatic and lucid dreamer: a flawless maestro gifted with evident form that at the same time, is able to transcended form to regain the happiness of the moment that would otherwise vanish into thin air, if it were not up to the artist to recreate it in the harmony of the pictorial form.

Claudio Strinati